Saracens ‘means so much’ to Barritt

Date published: July 10 2015

England centre Brad Barritt might be off to Denver but is still enjoying the success that Saracens tasted at the end of last season.

Barritt, who has won 22 caps since his debut in 2012, missed the 2015 Six Nations through injury but returned at the end of last season to help drive Saracens onwards both in Europe and the Premiership.

By no coincidence, Barritt's return coincided with Saracens sneaking into the Premiership play-offs and then winning the whole thing at Twickenham by convincingly beating Bath.

Many players build deep bonds with they clubs the play for. For Barritt, his appreciation of Saracens seems to run even deeper.

"Saracens is a place that has given a lot to me so in terms of staying, it’s the place I want to be and to be a part of its success. Going overseas isn’t something I’ve thought about at all," Barritt told Planet Rugby.

"I recently signed a new contract and it’s a top place to play rugby. The people make it such a special club and it’s great to play for a club that means so much to you."

Barritt has started in both of Saracens' Premiership title wins in 2011 and 2015, but was also involved when Northampton delivered a crushing blow with their extra-time victory at the end of 2013/2014.

Recovering from that, something not every club could do easily, made this year's success just that little bit sweeter.

"The Premiership title was a huge accolade for Mark McCall and the management team, who have pushed us the players to reach that extra level.

"It was so much more satisfying [after last year]. A lesser team may have really taken that disappointment and not been able to get back to that point. Key attributes of our team have always been our resilience and we showed a huge amount of that in the final few weeks and peaking at the right time.

"The win at the end of the day is an accolade. If we hadn’t won there would have been many weeks of frustration and anquish, but thankfully it went according to plan."

Lifting the Premiership trophy was also a fine way to send off David Strettle, the England winger who is heading to Clermont and who Barritt admits he will miss on and off the field.

"Of course I’ll miss him – Stretts is a great friend of mine and a fantastic player and I think he’s given fantastic service to Saracens, so we can only wish him well, " he said.

Barritt however is looking forward. He and his wife welcomed a son weeks before the end of the Premiership season and with England now in World Cup mode and the Premiership clubs back in pre-season, the cycle never ends.

"Thankfully my wife took the brunt of it all and dug deep during those last four weeks of the season, but it was pretty challenging. Although it definitely made the final that much more special being able to share that with her and son."

Barritt though knows how important it is to get the most out of pre-season training, however much it hurts, to stand himself in good stead in the busy campaign to come.

"Pre-season is something you have to look at optimistically and as a challenge to get in the best possible shape. The great thing about it is there’s so much work that can be done – it’s about being selective about what you feel you will benefit from the most," he explained.

"It carries you through the year and gives you that core power, strength and fitness and makes you pretty robust. In an attritional sport like rugby you need that, because when the games come thick and fast it’s more about maintenance, making pre-season so important."

Barritt's physical approach to the game means that him having a strong pre-season is more important than ever with the World Cup and the campaign beyond with Saracens to come. You get the sense though that it's a challenge he is already relishing.

by Ben Coles

Brad Barritt uses drug-free FLEXISEQ Sport to protect his joints from pain and stiffness.